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Brooks Koepka

Does Brooks Koepka make a rod for his own back?

 

In the week leading up to the LIV Golf Invitational at Orlando, Brooks Koepka was spotted calling Florida Panthers’ defenceman Aaron Ekblad a traffic cone from the box where he was watching the NHL match from. Indeed, displeased with Ekblad’s defensive duties against the New York Rangers, Koepka, who remarkably, even had a traffic one cone on him, gesticulated towards Ekblad from his box as bewildered fans caught the moment on their smartphones.

As you can imagine in this day and age, it was an incident that gathered traction on social media and subsequently, earned Koepka a few awkward questions in the media just days before the LIV event in Florida. 

Koepka wins in Orlando after a turbulent week 

However, did this scrutiny put Koepka off in Orlando? Not one bit is the answer as the 32-year-old would go on to win the tournament and in doing so, became the first man to win two LIV golf events. Tellingly, Koepka is in such a rich vein of form that the latest golf odds today price him at 28/1 to win the Masters and 50/1 to win the US Open in June. While those odds may seem high, keep in mind that the favourites for each event are typically priced in the region of 10/1. In other words, Koepka is very much in the running to win some of golf’s biggest prizes this season. 

Of course, this may come as a surprise to golf fans given that the reality is that there has been little fanfare around the American’s chances in the majors owing to the narrative that seems to follow him around. But is this ongoing theme one that he creates for himself? At least, do Koepka’s actions – like calling a fellow professional sportsman a traffic cone – tend to take the shine of his unquestionable brilliance on the golf course as the conversation is focused elsewhere? 

The way Koepka is perceived 

The truth is that Koepka feels that he is often not given the spotlight that he is deserving but the resulting irony is that he’s not sure why. This was the case in 2019 when he publicly questioned why Fox’s preview montage of the US Open hadn’t featured him despite winning the competition on back-to-back occasions. In fairness, it was a legitimate question but again, the inescapable truth is that Koepka’s actions don’t always allow him to be the face of golf.

At other times, it has been Koepka’s self-praising attitude that also makes it challenging for fans to give him the limelight that his golf merits. For example, take his post-round interview after his triumph in Orlando in early April when he told the world that it gives him chills just thinking about his capabilities.

There certainly isn’t anything wrong with Koepka believing in his ability, but golf fans who have followed his career will also know that when he makes these bold statements, he is often trying to send a message to someone who he feels has underestimated him at some stage.

It is a catch-22 situation as this fierce fire within makes Koepka a formidable and driven opponent but you also can’t help but wonder if this approach is standing in the way of his talent getting the praise it certainly warrants. This is, after all, one of the best golfers of his generation who has won four major championships already. Yes, Koepka is a remarkable talent but the history books may not remember him as one. 

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